Internet service provider Exetel announced yesterday it would change the way it forwarded alleged copyright infringement notices to customers.
In an email seen by ZDNet.com.au, Exetel said the practice it had used for the past five years was to be changed. Up until now, when the ISP received an alleged copyright infringement notice it forwarded it automatically onto the relevant customer.
According to Exetel CEO John Linton's blog, it allowed customers to either deny or apologise to the rights holders, but did not cut users off. Access was temporarily blocked until the customer acknowledged that they had received the notice and either complied with it or denied the allegation.
But this has been scheduled to change at the end of February.
"We will modify this practice in the near future," Exetel said in an email to customers yesterday. "We will continue to send any infringement notices we receive in the future, but before the end of February we will not require the user to acknowledge receipt of it nor will we temporarily block the customer's internet access.
"Subject to final legal advice, and re-coding time and testing, we will in future simply send the infringement notice to the registered 'owner' of the service."
It would be accompanied by the following email:
Dear [ ],
A copyright infringement notice has been sent to Exetel that states that your Exetel IP (internet connection) has been used to acquire material that breaches copyright.
You do not need to take any action except to be aware that, if you or some member of your household are in fact using your internet connection to infringe another party's copyright, they have been able to detect that action and could, at some time in the future should they wish to do so, involve themselves in the legal and other costs of taking some action against you.
Again, you are not required to take any action regarding this infringement notice and it is sent to you as a courtesy in case usage of the internet connection in your name is being used in ways unknown to you.
Exetel CEO told ZDNet.com.au last week that there was "no doubt" that copyright was being infringed "in almost every case".